Cryptic Studios has finally announced the date that Star Trek Online will be going Free to Play. Via IGN, they revealed that the big day will be January 17, 2012. Interestingly, they reveal in the article that they wanted the game to be F2P back at launch in 2010, but Atari didn’t want them to do that.
The rest of the article details how Dilithium will work in the F2P game. Basically it’ll still be used to get the best gear at the level cap, but now players who farm Dilithium will be able to sell it to other players for Cryptic points. This may make the community rage, as people can now pretty much buy their way to the best gear; as long as they find someone selling enough Dilithium. However, as it will be a player run economy those same players who will be raging over this element of the game will be part of the system that will be controlling it.
Many changes to the game that will show up in the F2P version are currently in testing for Star Trek Online, so if you want to check them out; login to the test server.